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#16
p-dub

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With all the off topic $0.02 Professional Mapping should be able to retire soon!

David wrote, "We may not be defining "cartography" in the same sense." Heck, I say we may not be defining GIS in the same sense! Let's not forget the "S" argument; does it stand for Systems or Science? Some may feel this is another whack at a dead horse, but I feel it is extremely relevant for "modern geographers" to understand the difference.

I am a recent graduate; I received a BS in GIS from Texas State University this past May. Let me make clear that my degree is in Geographic Information Science, not Systems. I received formal training as an analytic geographer, not as an information systems technician/DBA/.NET programmer/etc.

Cartography was an integral part of my course work. That being said, my courses in cartography were electives which could have been substituted for other courses. The GISystems courses I took covered cartography only in the most elementary fashion, generally with one or two lectures for the semester, and comments on cartographic output through the semester.

David wrote, “…it’s a fault of the GIS education system as it currently stands that there is little “Geography” in the teaching of GIS and almost no cartography. " And, “But as standalone GIS certification has gained popularity it suffers from too many practitioners with neither the geography background or the map making skills to get the most out of the software they are using.”

Although I don’t feel David’s statements hold true for my particular case, I feel he may be correct and here is the reason why; I can’t site any specific sources, but I know I have heard/read on more than one occasion that “it’s easier to teach a little geography to a programmer than it is to teach programming to a geographer.”

Universities and trade schools are subject to market forces. I contend that it is the market pushing for “techies”, folks who can design a database or program a specific tool which happens to have a spatial component. I believe there is a common misconception within the general public that “It’s all computers these days!” Most people don’t understand that the USER in an integral part of the GISystem and, more importantly, good cartographic design principles cannot just be programmed into a box that spits out nice maps. GIS certificates may be stressing the INFORMATION SYSTEMS aspect too much and not involving enough GEOGRAPHIC SCIENCE.

#17
s hubbard

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" I have heard/read on more than one occasion that “it’s easier to teach a little geography to a programmer than it is to teach programming to a geographer.”

idk about this.....i have witnessed quite the opposite. and this was the quote around here - "programmers are a dime a dozen, good cartographers are not!"

"GIS certificates may be stressing the INFORMATION SYSTEMS aspect too much and not involving enough GEOGRAPHIC SCIENCE."

agree with this though, sums it up....

....the best maps out there are made with BOTH a good programmer AND a cartographer/designer....it takes two really (in most cases)
s hubbard
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#18
David Medeiros

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" I have heard/read on more than one occasion that “it’s easier to teach a little geography to a programmer than it is to teach programming to a geographer.”

idk about this.....i have witnessed quite the opposite. and this was the quote around here - "programmers are a dime a dozen, good cartographers are not!"

"GIS certificates may be stressing the INFORMATION SYSTEMS aspect too much and not involving enough GEOGRAPHIC SCIENCE."

agree with this though, sums it up....


On the first point I have to agree with Hubbard. I’ve had a few discussions with employers and instructors where they felt that teaching cartography to their IT and GIS users was more involved than teaching GIS to a geographer or cartographer. Perhaps the operative phrase here is “a little geography”. That in my view is the root of the problem with poor GIS work. “I’m going to teach you a little geography… very little” ; )

The assessment of GIS Certificates focus on IS and not GS is spot on. And I should add that when I’m critical of GIS education it’s primarily the 1 or 2 year certificate programs, not undergrad or graduate GIS degrees of which I have very little knowledge, but assume they are far more in depth and inclusive of Geography as a whole.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#19
Charles Syrett

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S Hubbard, I'm inclined to agree. I remember overhearing a similar line in the early 90's when I was browsing in a university map library.....two other guys were talking, and one of them said "it's easier to teach programming to a cartographer than cartography to a programmer". :)

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.com

" I have heard/read on more than one occasion that “it’s easier to teach a little geography to a programmer than it is to teach programming to a geographer.”

idk about this.....i have witnessed quite the opposite. and this was the quote around here - "programmers are a dime a dozen, good cartographers are not!"

"GIS certificates may be stressing the INFORMATION SYSTEMS aspect too much and not involving enough GEOGRAPHIC SCIENCE."

agree with this though, sums it up....



#20
natcase

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Just a few additional points:

1. Sadly, while one can teach basics of cartography, there's no substitute for practice practice practice. As with most anything. This is different from "having made maps for a long time," if you've been following the same template for all those years.

2. I remain convinced that the practice of making maps is like the practice of writing: while there are good basics every writer and cartographer needs to know, neither occurs in a vacuum. You need to do good writing in the context of your wider practice: Are you writing technical manuals or greeting cards or legal briefs? Are you making road navigational maps for Omaha or geological analyses for tsunami warning or pretty pictures for a Hollywood movie? We like to think about the universals here, but so much of what I know about map making I've learned on my specific job as a mapmaker for retail publications.

3. It's no harder to teach anything to anyone than it is for them to learn that what they think is automated isn't. If your programmer does serious photography or drawing or something else visual on the side, it'll be no harder to teach them basic graphic sense than it will be to teach an artist with a mathematical bent about projections and data structure. The problem I think comes when we try to teach to peoples actual or self-perceived weaknesses... "I can't draw!"... "I flunked math!"

In other words, "You mean I can't just push a button to make it look good?"

Back to work...

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

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maphead.blogspot.com



#21
Jean-Louis

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well said, Nat...
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal





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